British driver Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes won the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, April 20, with his teammate, German Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso coming in second and third. According to Formula 1, the win in China was not only Hamilton's third victory of 2014 after earning his third pole position of the season earlier in the weekend, but it was also his third win of the Chinese contest.
With teammate Rosberg's second place, it was also the third time this season that Mercedes has finished 1-2 in a Formula 1 Grand Prix. The team dominates the constructors championship so far with 154 points to second place Red Bull at 57. The importance of the many changes in cars required this year cannot be over-emphasized and results in surprises such as the fact that Force India currently sits two points higher than the iconic Ferrari team after four races with 54 to 52 points respectively.
Four-time consecutive and reigning World Champion, Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, came in fifth, one position below his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo. About the race and his ongoing problems to get the new Red Bull car working effectively for him, Vettel commented, according to Formula 1: "I am not yet where I want to be, and I’m pretty much fighting with the car. It is an ongoing process. Sometimes it feels that we are making one step forward, but then also one backward again. Hopefully we are able to make some steps into the right direction for the upcoming races."
Team orders continued to be a controversy in the series when Vettel was asked to move over to allow his teammate by in Sunday's contest. Vettel first responded via radio wishing his teammate a sarcastic good luck in getting by, until he understood more clearly why he was being asked to let him pass.
"I moved over for Daniel once I knew that we were on different strategies," Vettel said in a post-race news conference. "When I was first asked, I didn't understand as we were on the same tyre, unlike in Bahrain, so I double checked. When the team said we were on a different strategy, I moved over and then, as the race went on, I saw more and more that I didn't have the pace. There was no point in holding Dan back."
Lewis Hamilton had this to say about his victory on Sunday and about Mercedes's continuing dominance in the season: "The team have done an amazing job and all the hard work both here and at the factory is really paying off at the moment. This car is just unbelievable; in the final laps, I was pushing a little bit more to keep up the tyre temperatures and it just felt great to drive. I'm so, so happy today."
Controversies such as team orders continued, but a new one arose in Sunday's race -- an early checkered flag. According to NBC Sports, the checkered flag was waved at the end of lap 55 in a 56-lap race. Hamilton radioed that he'd seen it but was told to just ignore it and keep going. The FIA statement with the race results according to NBC read, "Result declared at end of Lap 54/56, in accordance with Article 43.2 of sporting regulations. Checkered flag was shown to leader at end of Lap 55."
According to NBC, Article 43.2 reads: "Should for any reason the end-of-race signal be given before the leading car completes the scheduled number of laps, or the prescribed time has been completed, the race will be deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the line before the signal was given."
NBC reports that only one change in position occurred after the flag and had to be reversed -- Jules Bianchi of Marussia officially finished in 17th place instead of Kamui Kobayashi, even though the Catherham driver had fought past Bianchi after the mis-fired flag and actually crossed the line ahead of him.
Fernando Alonso kept Ferrari's hopes alive when he beat out both Red Bull drivers for a third-place spot on the podium on Sunday. With all the teams jockeying for positions lining up behind dominating Mercedes with the new car formulae, Ferrai has renewed buzz and momentum by beating four-time consecutive constructor champions, Red Bull.
Alonso said, according to Formula 1, "Hopefully I can keep going like this. I felt more comfortable with the car and we will not give up."
Per the FIA, the results of Sunday's race were as follows:
2014 Chinese Grand Prix – Race Result
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 Winner 25
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 56 +18.6 secs 18
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 56 +25.7 secs 15
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 56 +26.9 secs 12
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 56 +51.0 secs 10
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 56 +57.5 secs 8
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 56 +58.1 secs 6
8 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 56 +83.9 secs 4
9 Sergio Perez Force India 56 +86.4 secs 2
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 55 +1 Lap 1
11 Jenson Button McLaren 55 +1 Lap
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 55 +1 Lap
13 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 55 +1 Lap
14 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 55 +1 Lap
15 Felipe Massa Williams 55 +1 Lap
16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 55 +1 Lap
17 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 55 +1 Lap (since reversed with Bianchi)
18 Jules Bianchi Marussia 55 +1 Lap
19 Max Chilton Marussia 54 +2 Laps
20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 54 +2 Laps
Ret Romain Grosjean Lotus 28 Gearbox
Ret Adrian Sutil Sauber 5 Engine
Drivers championship points after the first four races in the 2014 season are: Leader Nico Rosberg with 79; Lewis Hamilton, 75; and Fernando Alonso in third with 41.
Nico Hulkenberg of Force India currently sits in fourth position in the championship run with 36 points; he is three points ahead of 4-time World Champion Vettel.